When someone says “beach” the first things that come to mind are often summer, sunshine, swimming and ice cream. I love all of the things, but this winter I found a new appreciation for the winter beach experience.
A multigenerational team of explorers (aka my extended family) discovered that the winter beach offers streams to fjord, sand banks to slide on, endless rocks to chuck and treasures of beach glass to hunt for—all without getting a sun burn.
Our time exploring the winter beach-scape were some of my favourite moments of the holidays. There was a big storm that entirely changed the streams and sand banks overnight. We went on a night walk exploring the beach with flashlights, a big hit since we rarely experience real dark and a sky full of stars. With my kids approaching 5 and 2 1/2 it made me wonder what kind of memories they may make from these places and experiences.
For many adults when we reflect on our dearest childhood memories nature often plays a role—being outside in a thunderstorm, the quietness of a lake during an early morning fishing trip or the sweet smell of wildflowers in the heat of the summer. I’m sure you can vividly re-call a few of your own childhood nature experiences.
If you’re reading this blog, you probably are well aware that today’s kids have far fewer opportunities to play freely outside as we did: compared to the 1970s, American children now spend 50 percent less time in unstructured outdoor activities* and this finding is pretty consistent across Canada and the UK. I can’t help but feel saddened by this fact, because in my heart of hearts I think most kids are happiest when they are outside freely playing. In fact, I think most people are happiest that way.
Playing on the winter beach was a good reminder of how simple it can be to get outside. Fresh air, water, rocks, logs and unstructured time. A perfect counterbalance to the more frenzied side of the holidays. Will my kids remember these beach experiences? I don’t know. But their contentment in the moment suggests that they appreciate it enough right now to make it worthwhile. I’m pretty sure all of the adults present will be holding onto these memories for years to come too 🙂
What are some of your favourite winter places to get outside?